A surge in activity during the last week of open enrollment at Healthcare.gov more than doubled the number of plans selected for the season, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Over 4.32 million plans were selected during week 7 (Dec. 9-15) of enrollment for the 2019 coverage year, exceeding the 4.13 million selected over the previous 6 weeks and bringing the total to 8.45 million, the CMS reported. During week 6 (Dec. 3-9), which was previously the busiest week of the year, 943,000 plans were selected by residents of the 39 states that use the Healthcare.gov platform.
This year’s week 7 total also topped the comparable number from last year’s enrollment period for the first time and closed the gap in cumulative selections from 11.7% after 6 weeks to 4.2%. Last year, a total of 8.82 million plans were selected for the 2018 coverage year, CMS said, while also noting that the data for this year “are preliminary and do not represent final 2019 Exchange Open Enrollment figures.”
CMS Administrator Seema Verma addressed the drop from 2018 to 2019: “With the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years, it’s possible that more Americans have employer based coverage, and don’t need exchange plans.” The CMS also estimated that “approximately 100,000 current exchange enrollees in Virginia will be eligible for” Medicaid now that the state has expanded its Medicaid population.